The Dream Employer 2020: what is he like? Top 9 HR trends in the era of the pandemic

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The Dream Employer 2020: what is he like? Top 9 HR trends in the era of the pandemic

What do you need to know about HR management in a coronavirus-stricken year?

13 August 2020

Today, we have found ourselves in a new reality of online life: we work online, we study online, and we even have fun online. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world we knew from distant future predictions has suddenly become our ‘new normal’.

We live in the world of paradoxes and high uncertainty. The coronavirus pandemic has badly struck both developed and developing economies. In March, more than a third of humanity was in lockdown. By the end of April, 1.6 billion workers stood in immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed.

The current deep crisis has in a single stroke affected businesses around the world, and is prompting us to reconsider traditional HR management approaches. In view of the above, the Deloitte's 2020 Global Human Capital Trends report is very important and well timed, as it spurs us to think of how we will get back in the groove of old normal after the quarantine is over.
Here are nine key trends 2020 that will shape the HR management culture and team spirit.

Sense of belonging

83 percent of Ukrainian respondents believe that “fostering a sense of belonging in the workforce” is important for their organization's success in the next 12 to 18 months.

A sense of belonging is a basic human need and drives worker contribution. It is even more important for employees than feeling respected and treated fairly by colleagues or being satisfied with the decision-making approaches used by their organization. If a sense of belonging melts away, worker performance declines: they become more likely to leave the organization and less likely to recommend their organization as a good place to work.

The organization's ability to cultivate belonging is mostly built on its corporate culture, leadership behavior, and personal relationships.

Design of work to ensure well-being

Managers spend 40–87 percent of their time communicating with clients, partners, and subordinates, which leaves them with almost no time to focus on their team development, let alone, their personal life. Always being alert leads to emotional burnout, later turns into a real depression. This gives many EU countries the grounds for introducing, both at the legislative level and across organizations, the employees' right to disconnect from corporate mail, telephone and messengers outside of working hours. For example, you can neither send nor receive a letter after 18:00 and till 7:00 at Volkswagen, it is just technically impossible.

Well-being had the largest gap between importance and readiness across this year's trends, with 80 percent of organizations saying worker well-being is important or very important for their success, but only 12 percent saying they are very ready to address this issue.

Almost all Ukrainian respondents (98 percent) indicated that well-being was an organizational responsibility. In addition, over half believed that their well-being programs were positively affecting other business outcomes, such as the organization's reputation in the market, financial outcomes, customer and worker experience, and innovation and adaptability.

Organizations may achieve greater efficiency from well-being programs if they integrate them into the design of work. There exist a number of different tactics to redesign work around well-being. To illustrate, in addition to reducing its work week from five days to four, Microsoft has asked its employees to limit meetings to just 30 minutes and five people.

The postgenerational workforce

When implementing career opportunities, development programs, and recruitment approaches, organizations have always viewed their employees through a lens of age and generation. Thus, the majority of Ukrainian respondents (60 percent) agree that generational differences were expanding. Globally, 52 percent of the respondents say they consider generational differences when designing and delivering their HR programs. In Ukraine, there are only 36 percent of respondents who agree with this statement.

However, according to the recent research, the generational differences have appeared to be not so numerous as we used to think, especially in areas such as work-life flexibility, expectations of loyalty and job security, and expectations of advancement.

With jobs becoming increasingly dynamic, this traditional dependence between age and career opportunities is weakening. Today, an older person may join a consulting company as an intern just as well as a 30-year-old specialist may be appointed a top manager.

The diminishing relevance of age and changes in business culture gave rise to the concept of “perennials”. Perennials are people who, irrespective of their age, continue to push up against their growing edge, who always remain relevant, and not defined by their generation.

The workforce segmentation approach is shifting towards perennials. 59 percent of Ukrainian respondents believe that work behaviors (a maker, a doer, or a manager) will be most important for segmenting the workforce in three years. Half of the respondents expect that personal attributes such as introversion, extroversion, or propensity to be an individual contributor or a team player will play a decisive role in the near future. 43 percent reported that they already segmented their staff based on this principle.


Last century, every worker would perform his part of work in a big process, whereas now the most successful ideas come from joint efforts. On top of that, superteams also involve machines in this process.

According to Deloitte's 2020 global technology leadership study, more than 1,300 senior technology leaders believe that analytics and cognitive tools will have the second-largest measurable impact on the organization in the next three years. Artificial intelligence is projected to add USD 13 trillion over the next decade.

The main threat in the labor market is hardly that of machines replacing humans, but rather our inability to learn to co-work with artificial intelligence. Ironically, only a small minority of respondents (17 percent) reported that their organizations were making “significant” investments in reskilling to enable their employees to compete with AI. In addition, very few respondents (7 percent worldwide and 8 percent in Ukraine) are ready for the implementation of AI.

The exceptional strength of superteams is their superintelligence that arises from the interaction of humans and computers.

Knowledge management

Today, it has become quite difficult to control knowledge due to the rapid development of technology, access to data and information overload that leave no time to process the information, thus causing loss of knowledge.

Waiting for information from colleagues weekly takes up to 5.5 hours of an employee's working time, and almost 6 hours are spent to do work that has already been done before by someone else. As is evident from the above, the loss of knowledge also leads to significant financial losses.

Organizations realize this danger; therefore, our respondents, 75 percent worldwide and 78 percent in Ukraine, considered the creation and preservation of knowledge among the staff as important for their success in the next 12 to 18 months.

44 percent of Ukrainian participants say that the lack of an adequate technology infrastructure constrains effective knowledge management at their organization, on a par with organizational silos, lack of incentives, and lack of support from top management – all worsening the situation.

Beyond reskilling

We are living in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – unpredictable times, volatile markets, ever-changing processes. What we face now is that the skills acquired by employees before are no longer in demand.

Amid the economy of thought, ideas and innovations, the demand is declining for basic skills and growing for creative and analytical skills. A good recommendation for leaders would be to focus not insomuch on their employees' skills, but rather on their capabilities, such as creativity, emotional intelligence, empathy, resilience, critical thinking, and others. Thus, an employee who is avidly learning and acquiring new knowledge and skills in various fields, and who is capable of leading and making social impact, will be much more valued than a technology-savvy specialist knowledgeable about time management.

The vast majority (70 percent) of those surveyed in Ukraine believe that staff reskilling is important for their success in the near future. However, with a few exceptions (only 16 percent of respondents worldwide and 4 percent – in Ukraine), business leaders make no plans to significantly increase investments in an ongoing workforce recovery and training of their employees.

The compensation conundrum

Compensation management accounts for up to 70 percent of an organization's total costs of their companies, but only 3 percent of respondents consider their compensation programs to be very effective in motivating talents.

Over half of those surveyed state that they regularly review their compensation strategies and plan to further resort to different ways of mutual satisfaction of needs of both employees and employers. 69 percent of respondents worldwide and 94 percent in Ukraine estimate the changes in the nature of compensation expectations and reward strategies as important or very important factor for the success of their companies over the next 12 to 18 months; however, only 9 percent and 14 percent respectively are very ready to address this trend.

In order to break this seemingly endless cycle of compensation reforms, organizations need to develop a new approach that is anchored not only in data and benchmarks, but also in a set of important ethical and human principles that reflect how organizations value individuals and how individuals value organizations.

Governing HR strategies

The survey shows that the pressure to generate deeper insights about the workforce often starts at the highest levels: 53 percent of our respondents reported that their leaders' interest in workforce information has increased over the past 18 months.

Nearly all participants (97 percent) admitted that they need additional information about their workforce; however, only 11 percent worldwide and 25 percent in Ukraine collect such information in real-time.

It is no longer enough to just monitor financial results and collect descriptive data to make business and teams more efficient. Besides, it is necessary to think of answers to strategic questions—unique for each organization—and to monitor HR metrics as a basis for prediction of certain characteristics of employees and development of strategies to provide the organization with the necessary staff.

Ethics and the future of work

When asked about the future of work and ethics in the workplace, the respondents were almost unanimous in the view that these issues are very important to them. However, only 27 percent worldwide and 15 percent in Ukraine have clear strategies, decisions, and policies.

According to the survey, most organizations are not in a position to use algorithms, artificial intelligence, and data to improve the efficiency of the decision-approval process, as well as to monitor the activities of employees and the work environment.

With the number of computers rapidly growing in companies, thus breaking all established categories of performance assessment and efficiency, personal data and their protection. Instead of ducking and diving on the all-pervading digitalization, organizations need to ensure consistent communication, train people to coexist with machines and create superteams.

What happens next?

What should be well realized is that, though the crisis is spurring Ukrainian businesses to take truly heroic and unprecedented actions, the real recovery is possible only provided that these measures will have a lasting effect. The ideas and intentions are obviously not enough. It is time for drastic and fundamental changes: a significant broadening of perception of human capital related challenges and understanding of the role of humans at work, rethinking of traditional approaches to workforce management, seeking for and implementation of new practices anchored in the worker needs, life circumstances, health, aspirations, and capabilities.

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